Cleveland, OH

Judge rules in favor of city, Little Italy development

Woodhill Coltman Partners LLC will restart construction work in Little Italy on a four-story apartment building following a judge’s ruling.SixMo

Looking generally south along East 123rd Street in Little Italy, Woodhill Coltman Partners LLC will reportedly restart construction work on a four-story apartment building following a judge’s ruling. South and east of the 80-unit apartment building, the development team will also build 17 townhouses.

A Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court judge has ruled that two residents of Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood lacked the standing and evidence to sustain an appeal challenging the development of a nearby apartment building. Judge Michael J. Russo dismissed the lawsuit, allowing construction at the former Woodhill Supply, 1862 E. 123rd St., to restart.

Construction on the $15 million development consisting of a four-story, 80-unit apartment building and 17 townhomes started Aug. 23 but was halted Sept. 16 after Russo issued a preliminary injunction. Construction will take a few days to restart because workers, equipment and material have to re-mobilized and returned to the site, said a source close to the development team, Woodhill Coltman Partners LLC. Another source said the development team was previously expecting that construction might be shut down for much of the winter.

The lawsuit was filed by David D. Watson and Susan C. Stone who live together near the development site at 1876 E. 120th St., according to public records. They contested the granting of a zoning variance for the project June 7 by the city of Cleveland’s Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) and Zoning Administrator Richard Riccardi for the development on property owned by University Circle Inc., a community development corporation. The city, Riccardi and UCI were all named as defendants. The development team, led by M. Panzica Development, was not named.

John Slagter, attorney for Watson and Stone, did not wish to comment on whether his clients will appeal. They have 30 days from the date when Russo’s opinion was publicly filed to appeal it. Russo rejected Watson’s and Stone’s lawsuit and ended the preliminary injunction via a 15-page opinion filed Oct. 5.

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